Marketing happiness has never solved any serious problem. Happy faces are a great way to sell feel-good products and services.
Happy faces sell fast food. Ronald McDonald. Colonel Sanders. The Burger King.
Happy faces sell cars, weight loss programs, college degrees, TV shows.
To address serious issues you need serious solutions and serious marketing programs. Look at the marketing programs that have addressed other serious problems:
- World War II: A Slip of the Lip will Sink a Ship
- This is Your Brain on Drugs
- Keep America Beautiful (with the crying indian)
- Crash Test Dummies
- McGruff’s Take a Bite Out of Crime
- Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk
The happiness media surrounding breast cancer encourages us to not take the problem seriously.
The marketing programs use pink – a happy color. Smiling faces on women. Smiling teams show that we’re all in this together.
The walking and running performances from Avon, Komen Y-ME, American Cancer Society and all the other organizations show happy women. What are they smiling about?
These programs provide hope – a hope that we can survive breast cancer and its treatments. Not the hope that we will prevent breast cancer and not have to deal with the treatments.
Can you imagine celebrating other issues with the same cheerfulness?
Can we celebrate heart disease with a cookout? Heart attack survivors smiling and having a good time watching a football game and grilling steaks and fried chicken.
A smoke-out for COPD.
How about a March for Rape. You could have rape victims celebrating survival – cheerful about therapy. The happy lives of survivors.
We could have a Walk Against Violence. Imagine victims of muggings and drive-by shootings marching in smiling camaraderie; displaying the happiness of surviving violent crime. Can you see the next-of-kin therapy groups marching and singing songs?
That’s not what happens. We deal with violence by showing horror.
News desks show the photo of the body with the gunshot wound; the victims relatives crying on each other shoulders; the body lying on the ground. That horror generates a demand for law enforcement; for prevention. It is a method of showing concern, distaste, and disgust and how appalled we are with the situation.
If it bleeds it leads. If It bleeds we demand demonstrable action.
Breast Cancer Happiness soothes us and generates a false sense that we are accomplishing something.
It hides the ugliness.